Easy tricks to find your lost files on a Mac

Imagine the situation when you’ve been working all day on important document, diploma paper, report etc. You saved it but where did it go? It has vapoured somehow. Or you’ve downloaded couple of files from the Internet. Where are they saved? We’ve all encountered such issues. What are the best ways to find it?


Be like Sherlock and spotlight it.


This is probably the easiest and the fastest way to find the lost file. Spotlight is a powerful OS X tool. It handles the search with numerous criterias including file name, time, date, words in the text or application, web pages etc.

By default you may bring up the spotlight search bar by using command + space key combination or after clicking on the spy glass icon at the upper right corner of the screen. Type the name of the lost file. You’ll see the matches on the list. Choose the one you need. Double click in order to open the file or ctrl + click on the file name to show this file in finder. Voila. The file has been found.


Finder search

You may also search files with Finder. Open the Finder window. Type the name of the file you are looking for. Press Enter. Results will be displayed according to the title and file content. If you use the key word in the text most likely the file you need won’t be at the top of the list. Scroll down displayed results and try to find the lost one.


If you want to search for the file name just select “name matches” option under the search bar. Easy as a pie.


Smart Folder is another useful Finder search tool. To put it simply it is not a folder but it is saved search history in Finder tab.

Users may create such Smart Folders containing everything that has been opened or saved and filter it with different criterias.

How to use it? Nothing difficult. Use command + alt+ n  key combination  and choose “New Smart Folder”.  In a new window select the location to search (This Mac). Then click on the “+” sign. You’ll have the option to use two menus – “Kind” and “Any”

You may adjust the search parameters in the first menu. Kind is a type of file you are looking for. You’ll be offered to search with the file format, name, contents etc. The second menu is context based so its content depends on previously chosen options.

If you’ve lost the document choose “document” from the drop down menu. Every document on your machine will instantly appear on the screen. You may add even more parameters to your search by clicking “+” at the top right corner. Finally you’ll need to choose where to save your smart folder. In order to do this click on the “Save” button.

Name your search(in my case it is New Smart Folder). Where is it saved? Most likely it is located in the Saved Searches folder in the Library. Open the Finder window and click on “Go” menu at the top. Hold the option key down and choose Library from the drop down list.


In user Library open Saved Search folder. Double click on recently saved smart folder.


Third party solutions – what’s the profit?

Even if built in OS X search tools are good you’ll probably need more powerful search options. Third party apps are good solution in this case.  I prefer multifunctional all in one apps. Files Finder in MacKeeper does it’s job. You may easily search for the file you need using multiple filters or create your own search preset. Easy as a pie. Ready to use custom filters save your time and efforts. For example users may look for the 25 latest files or last 50 saved documents.

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